Tuesday update

I realized something this morning…thus far this fall/winter, we have not seen an entire bitterly cold day, a day when the temperatures didn’t manage to break out of the 30s. It is very unusual to get all the way to Christmas without that happening at least once. In fact, there have only been 3 days this season when the temperature failed to break 50.

  • Wednesday, November 3: high 48, low 41
  • Tuesday, December 7: high 48, low 32
  • Sunday, December 19: high 46, low 33

(Source: AccuWeather)

On the other hand, there have already been 8 days this December with highs at or above 70: the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 10th (80!), 11th, 14th, 16th, and 17th. The extended forecast has the 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th at or above 70 as well.

The Shelby County Health Department has confirmed 31 Omicron variant cases in Shelby County. Also, independent data analyst James Aycock reports that the county is up to a 7-day rolling average of 268 cases per day and a 7.2% positivity rate. “It’s about to get bad, y’all,” James commented in a tweet.

Y’all, it could not be easier to sign up on walgreens.com for a vaccination or booster appointment. You could easily get it done on a lunch break. If you work near Walgreens, you could probably get it done on a 15-minute coffee break.

Ja Morant returned last night but the Grizzlies lost their second in two days, falling to the OKC Thunder 102-99. Let’s have a look at what that means for the standings:

  • The Grizzlies (19-13) remain in 4th place in the West
  • They’re 3 games back of 3rd-place Utah Jazz (21-9)
  • They’re 2.5 games ahead of 5th-place Denver (15-14)
  • But they’re now only 2.5 games above play-in scenarios (7th-place L.A. Lakers are 16-15)

Sad that there were haters who criticized Ja’s play. It was his first game back from an injury, and even if he wasn’t, everyone has an off-night once in a while. Welcome back, Ja. I look forward to plenty of highlights and 30+ point games from you the rest of this season.

Wednesday night could be a huge party night Downtown. Think about it… many companies give employees Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. But since Christmas is on Saturday, a lot of employees will get Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th off work. That will turn Wednesday into effectively a weekend night.

Congratulations are in order to several Downtown restaurants that scored perfect 100s on their health inspections this month:

  • Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick (bar)
  • Slider Inn Downtown (patio bar)
  • Memphis Mary at Stop 345 (bar)
  • Curry N Jerk
  • The Nine Thai and Sushi (bar)
  • 117 Prime (bar)
  • Island Queen and Memphis Queen (riverboats that dock at 45 Riverside)

StyleBlueprint has 7 restaurants in Memphis open on Christmas, and 4 of them are Downtown: Bishop, CIMAS, Paulette’s, and the Peabody. Not surprisingly, all 4 are restaurants in hotels.

Rizzo’s is back open following a COVID outbreak. They hosted a private party last night and are open to the public tonight.

A monument celebrating women’s suffrage leaders in Memphis will be unveiled this week. It will be located behind the law school and will be visible from I-40 and Riverside Drive.

Today is National Hamburger Day and there are plenty of good spots Downtown to celebrate. It’s also Short Girl Appreciation Day, which for some reason makes me think of a holiday I mentioned in this blog a few months ago, National Kimberly Day.

HAMILTON returns to the Orpheum tonight for a run through January 2. Note that the theater is requiring masks at the show, and concessions must be consumed in the lobby.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association holds their Soup, Socks, and Scarves Giveaway at the Christmas tree at Main and Peabody Place today from 4:30-6:30 PM.

By the Brewery hosts a holiday cookie decorating class today at 2:30.

That’ll do it for today’s post. My plan is to stay home and write until about 4 then get out for a while. Back tomorrow if there’s enough news to report.

Monday update

The Peanut Shoppe has announced that its last day for in-person orders will be Christmas Eve – Friday, December 24. They are doing this because they have to be moved out of their current location by December 31. They will reopen in their new location, 3 blocks to the south, in 2022. They invite you to come by this week and take as many photos as you like.

As for phone and online orders, they will stop accepting those as of 3 PM Central Standard Time Thursday, December 23.

The first 5000 fans at the Grizzlies’ home game tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder get free Grizzlies wrapping paper. The tip-off is 7 PM.

The Memphis Tigers’ Tuesday game against Alabama State has been canceled due to two players in the Tigers program testing positive for COVID. Coach Penny’s live radio broadcast from Brookhaven Pub, scheduled for today, has also been canceled. The Tigers’ next game will now be the opening of conference play at Tulane on the 29th.

Penny did a press conference at 3 yesterday explaining why the Tigers had to cancel Saturday’s game vs. Tennessee. At 7  Saturday morning, four hours before the scheduled tip-off, Tyler Harris and Landers Nolley tested positive for COVID. According to protocols, anytime a player tests positive, all his unvaccinated teammates have to quarantine. That left Memphis with only 4 players eligible to play.

Let’s do some math here. There are 17 players on the Tigers’ roster. Take away the two who tested positive. That leaves 15. Take away the four who were fully vaccinated and therefore eligible to play. That leaves 11.

ELEVEN of seventeen players were not fully vaccinated? SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT? I know nobody can force a player to get the vaccine, but that rate indicates a real failure on Penny’s part. Isn’t he supposed to be a role model who shapes them into young men? I’m beginning to wonder if Tigers players respect Penny as little as past players respected Pastner or Tubby.

Fun game I found yesterday: GeoGuessr. It drops you into Google StreetView on a random street somewhere in the world. You take a virtual walk around the area until you’re confident enough to guess where you were dropped by placing a pin on a world map. It then awards you between 0 and 5000 points, depending on how close your pin was to the actual location. You get 20 minutes to complete 5 of these, so your maximum score is 25,000.

My closest guess when I played yesterday was 28 miles from a village in England. I earned 4800 points for that one. My worst guess was a pin I dropped on Malaysia when the city I was exploring was actually in South Africa. I only got 16 points for that one.

You only get 20 minutes a day for free on GeoGuesser, but it’s an addictive 20 minutes. Go ahead and give it a try. It’s not like you were going to get much work done this week, anyway.

A lot of people play it tough and go to work despite feeling a cold coming on – but you don’t want to do that this winter. Omicron variant symptoms that are among the first to appear include a runny nose, sore throat, headaches, and sneezing. Omicron’s symptoms tend to be more cold-like than past variants, whose symptoms were more flu-like.

Want to celebrate New Year’s Eve without paying a massive cover? Loflin Yard’s NYE party will feature DJ Bassventura and there’s a champagne toast at midnight. No cover charge.

Each member of the Memphis Tigers football team will get the following swag as a reward for playing in the Hawai’i Bowl Friday: An electronics gift suite, a pair of Oakley sunglasses and a backpack, a Kahala aloha shirt, a beach towel, and swim trunks.

Today is National Sangria Day.

Round 1 headliners have been announced for Music Fest and include Foo Fighters, Lil Wayne, Smashing Pumpkins, and Three 6 Mafia.

Still haven’t taken the kids out to see Santa? You’ll have one last chance tomorrow as Sugar Grits hosts Brunch with Santa with seatings at 9 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM, and 6 PM. The brunch comes with biscuits, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, hash brown casserole, grits, fruit, pancakes, regular or chocolate milk, orange juice, and water. Hot chocolate, coffee, and adult beverages will be available at an additional charge. Children will get to meet Santa and receive a keepsake from him. Mrs. Claus and Buddy the Elf will be there as well.

That’s the news for today. Posts may be less than daily this week, since the time around Christmas tends to be slow for news.

Saturday update

Tigers on national TV alert: Memphis plays the 18th-ranked Tennessee Vols in a neutral-court game in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. This is a chance for Memphis to get a second win against an SEC and Top 25 team this week. The game will be broadcast at 11 AM on ESPN2.

Sad to hear of the death of Shawn Cripps, singer and guitarist of local band The Limes, this week. I knew him in the early ’00s through his ex-wife. I agree with the assessment of those interviewed by the CA that his body of work will be studied and his genius more widely recognized in the years to come.

Longshot, the shuffleboard bar in the basement of the Arrive Hotel, is offering an all-inclusive deal for New Year’s Eve. Tickets are $100 and get you

  • An open bar from 8:00 PM-12:30 AM
  • A buffet of Chef Todd’s favorite dishes
  • Two live DJs
  • A champagne toast at midnight

This is a 21 and up event. Get tickets here. Given the location outside the Downtown core and the cover charge (and the fact that it’s not a stop on a NYE pub crawl), Longshot’s party should be much less Amateur Night/Douchebag Night than a lot of parties at Downtown bars. This one I can recommend.

Rizzo’s will be closed for a couple of days due to staff with COVID. They report that the cases are mild, nothing serious. When they reopen, there may be a smaller menu in play for a few days.

Arbors of Harbor Town is hiring a leasing consultant.

Blind Bear is hiring a dishwasher and cook. They are willing to train.

Several months ago, Taco Bell removed Mexican pizza from their menu. They have now realized their mistake (one of the dumbest since classic Coke was discontinued in 1985) and Mexican pizza will return in 2022.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. is producing a series of beers called The Before Times. These beers will celebrate the things we used to do without a second thought before the pandemic. They will be high-gravity beers in 750 ml bottles, sold only in the Memphis Made taproom. Leading off the series will be Lick Everything, an American strong ale brewed with blackberries.

Long story but worth a read: How Deion Sanders turned Jackson State into the best story in college football. This story kind of makes me want to attend the 2022 Southern Heritage Classic so I can see Coach Prime do his thing in person.

The Grizzlies’ game against Sacramento almost didn’t happen last night, as the Kings had many players in COVID/safety protocols. The game did happen, though, and the Grizzlies won, 124-105. Here’s what that means for the standings:

  • The Grizzlies (19-11) hold 4th place in the Western Conference
  • They’re now only 2 games back of catching the Utah Jazz (20-8) for 3rd place
  • They’re 2½ games ahead of the 5th-place L.A. Clippers (16-13)
  • They’re avoiding play-in scenarios by 3½ games, ahead of the 7th-place Denver Nuggets by that amount

The Grizz get today off before a home back-to-back Sunday and Monday.

Tonight is the Blind Bear’s Christmas party. The tree is up and the bar is decked out with holiday decorations. Here’s what will happen starting at 8 PM:

  • Dirty Santa gift exchange – Bring a wrapped present, draw a number, and when it’s your turn you can unwrap a present or steal one that was previously unwrapped
  • Live music by the Michael Brothers
  • Blind Bear gift card prizes for funniest hat and ugliest sweater

Today is National Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day. Someone needs to do that at the Blind Bear Christmas party. Yes, I know there’s nothing Christmassy about a plunger, but still.

All right, people, listen up. I AM NOT DOING SHOTS TODAY. I have events to attend in the morning, afternoon, and evening. I will not make all of them if I have a full day of Jameson and house cinnamon whiskey and Rumple. In particular, I’ve got to make it into the evening or I’ll end up with my own Dirty Santa gift. So don’t even THINK about buying me a shot, at least until I’ve given my gift away and picked out one of my own.

I may take tomorrow off, given that I have a backlog of about 30 professional writing topics I want to get started on. Back Monday if not tomorrow.

Friday update

Yesterday afternoon between 2 and 3, I heard sirens almost constantly. I thought something was on fire but they turned out to be police and ambulance sirens. Here’s what was going on:

  • Police were called to a car crash in the 800 block of E.H. Crump Blvd. A man got out of one of the cars and attempted to stab everyone in sight. One victim was taken to the hospital in non-critical condition. Another victim shot the suspect, killing him.
  • An Arkansas State Trooper was shot and two men were killed during a gunfire exchange near McLemore and I-55. The trooper chased the men across the bridge from West Memphis. The area was shut down for hours.
  • Multiple arrests were made in the parking garage at Young Dolph’s celebration of life. A stolen Fin Fin, some weed, and a couple of guns were recovered.

I hopped on the police scanner and learned that the MPD “B” shift was held over past their usual sign-off time. Routine calls were held for over an hour in some cases.

Let’s move on to better news. I am so, so, so very proud of my graduate school alma mater and my employer for 5 years, the University of Memphis. This week the university received a designation as a Carnegie R1 school. The indicates the U of M’s status as a top-flight research institution. It will attract world-class professors and also grant money to Memphis.

What a wonderful change. When I was in grad school there, the place was called “Tiger High” and, although there were pockets of excellence, mediocrity was the standard. The U of M is living up to its potential now. I remember dreaming of getting a Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon, or MIT, or Stanford, or UCal-Berkeley. Today’s kids dream of getting a Ph.D. from Memphis.

St. Jude revealed in a community meeting last night that they are delaying submission of their proposal for a 7-story parking garage at Third and A.W. Willis Ave. for another 30 days. They were scheduled to go before the Board of Adjustment next Wednesday.

Beale Street is now selling New Year’s Eve 2021/22 Fast Passes. This pass costs $100 and lets you skip the line everyplace except Hard Rock, Wet Willie’s, the New Daisy, and Tater Red’s, and you don’t pay any cover at the door.

The CA has a recap of Young Dolph’s celebration of life, held yesterday at FedExForum.

If you’re good with tools, there’s a temp-to-perm opening for an assembler at a company near Downtown Memphis. Based on the job description, I suspect the company may be Auto-Chlor.

Pattie O’Furniture hosts drag bingo at the Moxy Hotel tonight at 7.

The Grizzlies travel to Sacramento today for a 9 PM game vs. the Kings.

That’s it for today. This is the week when there are a lot of private holiday parties, so there are fewer public events to report. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Reminder: Joe Austin & The Tallahatchies play the Blind Bear tonight at 8. Joe used to play the Bear as a member of Mud Flap King. It’s great to see live music back on Thursday nights, so come on out!

While there, why not do a little shopping? They currently have

  • Blind Bear hoodies for $35
  • Blind Bear Santa hat T-shirts for $25
  • Blind Bear 10th anniversary shirts for $10, shirts say, “Guess you couldn’t keep a secret!” on the back

There will be another community meeting about ALSAC’s proposed 7-story parking garage at Third/Fourth and A.W. Willis today from 5:00 to 6:30 PM at the Neighborhood Christian Center, 785 Jackson. Last month the Board of Adjustment sent the proposal back, telling ALSAC/St. Jude to work with the community to come up with a plan that serves the needs of both the hospital and the community. This is your chance to help craft that plan. Follow community organizers on Instagram at @parksnotparking901.

I know Thursday is not the ideal day to report this, but put it on your calendar for future weeks: The Green Beetle has started doing Wing Wednesdays. They smoke and then fry them, and you get 4 whole wings plus celery, carrots, and fries for $15.99. If you haven’t been keeping up with pandemic-fueled inflation, let me tell you, that is a very reasonable price these days.

Ghost River has announced its music lineup for its Beale Street taproom this weekend. No cover for any of these shows:

  • Tonight: Kaleidoscope 6-9 PM
  • Friday: Max Kaplan and the Magics 4-7; Fuzzy Jeffries and the Kings of Memphis 7:30-11
  • Saturday: Pam & Terry 1-5; Fuzzy Jeffries and the Kings of Memphis 6-10
  • Sunday: Pam & Terry 1-4; The Bugaloos (with special guest) 4:30-7:30

Given the time of year, I wonder if the special guest could be Santa?

At Ghost River’s taproom on Beale, you can enjoy delicious food from Flying Sobies, which has a kitchen located inside. Over at Ghost River’s Main Street location, this will be the food truck lineup:

  • Today: No truck but you’re welcome to bring your own food (is that Captain D’s a couple of blocks down Crump still open? That’s where I’d stop)
  • Friday: The Vegan Table 5-9
  • Saturday: DimSum Mem 3-8
  • Sunday: Bring your own food

Hmmm… I bet the old coot with the #asianfood Instagram account shows up at the Main Street location Saturday.

Congratulations to Memphis Tigers center Jalen Duren, who signed an NIL deal with Bose this week. Not only will Duren get paid, but he will be able to give gifts of Bose headphones or earbuds to his teammates.

If you’re an Iowa Hawkeyes fan, Tin Roof requests the honor of your company on New Year’s Day. They’re having an Iowa vs. Kentucky Citrus Bowl watch party. Kickoff is at noon and they’ll have the doors open at 11.  They’ll have a High Porch Picnic cocktail named after legendary Iowa coach Hayden Fry. The sound will be on, they’ll play the Hawkeyes fight song, and they’ll have Busch Light. (Is that an Iowa thing? Damn, y’all have some horrible taste in beer.)

Carolina Watershed does a ladies’ night every Friday. From 7-9 PM ladies get 20% off all food and beverages. Music by DJ Space Age. Both the Carolina Watershed and Red Bones stuffed turkey leg menus will be available (because nothing says “ladylike” like gnawing on a turkey leg).

Big news with implications for Memphis in 2022: Travis Hunter, generally considered next year’s #1 or #2 high school football recruit, decommitted from Florida State and signed with Jackson State, coached by “Prime Time” Deion Sanders. It’s the first time a top-5 recruit has signed with a historically Black college or university. Memphians will get to see Hunter in the 2022 Southern Heritage Classic on September 10.

The Grizzlies got a road win over the Portland Trail Blazers last night, 113-103. Here’s what that means for the standings:

  • Sole possession of 4th place in the West at 18-11
  • 3 games back of the Utah Jazz (20-7) for 3rd place
  • 2 games ahead of the 5th-place L.A. Clippers (16-13)
  • Avoiding play-in scenarios by 3½ games, ahead of 7th-place Dallas (14-14)

Five Memphis guys are unsatisfied that the Guinness world record for longest barbecue is held by Italians, and they plan to bring that record home to Memphis, where it belongs, this weekend. The public is invited and they’re going to put a “Free BBQ” sign at the corner of Poplar and Patterson. Airline reps, stand by – the Nuh-Uh Girl will be booking a ticket to Memphis moments after I publish this post.

The Memphis Flyer recently talked to Emily Gunther, co-owner of The Broom Closet metaphysical store, about the recent Yule Blót that happened at her store. The Blót is a pagan celebration of the winter solstice.

Dr. Fauci says variant-specific boosters aren’t needed at this time. Research shows the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J boosters are effective against the new Omicron variant.

Here’s the lineup for today’s Food Truck Thursday in Court Square (11 AM-2 PM), the last one for 2021.

From WREG: Concerns grow over Tom Lee Park changes. Outgoing DNA president Jerred Price has expressed concern that the mounds of dirt that have been shipped into the park will be formed into hills that will obstruct Mississippi River views from Riverside Drive.

I’ll add a concern not expressed in WREG’s article. Valero is donating a million dollars to plant 1000 trees in the park. Those 1000 trees add to my suspicion that there will be less room for future BBQ Fests… which means fewer teams will be able to get booths… which means prices for those booths will go up… which means it will become less possible for a team to compete at BBQ Fest without a presenting corporate sponsor.

Not that BBQ Fest should be the driving force for park decisions, since it only occupies Tom Lee for 1 week a year. My enthusiasm for BBQ Fest is at a 15-year low anyway.

The public celebration of Young Dolph’s life is today at FedExForum noon to 2.

Another ladies’ night: Ladies can throw at the South Main Civil Axe Throwing for only $15/hour tonight from 5-11 PM. Book a lane using code ladiesnight or just stop on in.

That’s it for the news. Going to get a full day of writing in, then I’ll hit the Blind Bear this evening for Joe Austin & The Tallahatchies. Back tomorrow with more.

Wed update: NOW you can call this a special week, Penny

The Memphis Tigers pulled off an upset over 6 Alabama last night on national TV, 92-78. The Tigers pulled away by double digits in the second half and made it clear the Crimson Tide weren’t getting back in. Memphis avoided a 5th straight loss and got a signature win that is sure to impress the NCAA tournament selection committee.

The Tigers have another chance to impress Saturday night with a neutral-court game against 18 Tennessee in Nashville. If they win that one, they’re fully back in March Madness conversations.

Terminix is to be acquired by British company Rentokil, one of the global leaders in pest control. Rentokil spokespeople say the company is committed to keeping a substantial presence in Memphis, so it sounds like the former Peabody Place Mall space won’t be vacant anytime soon.

New details have been revealed in a proposal to turn the north end of the Mud Island harbor into a lake called Sunset Lake.

In other riverfront news, Valero has donated $1 million to plant 1000 trees in Tom Lee Park.

Bonnie Raitt comes to the Orpheum Saturday, May 21. Tickets go on sale this Friday.

In other Orpheum news, Bobby Weir & The Wolf Bros. come to the Orpheum Thursday, March 10. They’ll perform songs from the Grateful Dead catalog as well as songs from Weir’s solo albums.

Bedrock Eats & Sweets has released its 2021 holiday pick-up menu. Place your order no later than tomorrow and your food will be ready for pick up on the 23rd or 24th.

Tigers football coach Ryan Silverfield will have his final radio show of the 2021 season tomorrow night. Catch it at 7 PM on 98.9 The Roar of Memphis or in person at Brookhaven Pub & Grill. Silverfield will discuss the upcoming bowl game in Hawaii.

If you’re into fantasy football, you better get familiar with NFTs. DraftKings will incorporate NFTs tied to real-life players next season.

Very cool: This face mask detects whether you have COVID just from your breathing, and glows if you have it

Today is National Cupcake Day.

Going to see a movie at Malco Powerhouse today? 10% of your ticket price will be donated to tornado victims in Kentucky.

The Grizzlies are on the road again. They tip off at Portland at 9 PM.

That’s today’s news. Back tomorrow.

Tuesday update

I got my COVID booster yesterday. Piece of cake. I went to the window at Walgreens pharmacy, handed them my vaccination card, and filled out and signed an 11-question form. A couple of minutes later, a pharmacist came out and asked me to sit in a chair and roll up my sleeve. There was a split second of discomfort (I wouldn’t even call it pain). She put a Band-Aid on me, handed me back my updated vaccination card, and that was it.

All three times I’ve had thoughts of, “Ow, I’m going to get jabbed with a needle. Do I really want to go through with this?” But I’ve gone through with it anyway.

A split second of discomfort (or even a second of pain) is preferable to a week on a ventilator followed by massive hospital bills.

That split second of discomfort is worth it because it means I can sit at the bar at Bardog every Saturday all winter long without worrying that I’m transmitting the Omicron variant to my friends.

My arm is sore this morning and I feel ever so slightly “off,” but my body’s reaction to the shot so far is less severe than the first and second doses.

Tigers on national TV alert: The Memphis Tigers host 6 Alabama tonight at 8 at FedExForum. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN. It’s the first White-Out of the season, and they ask that if you go to the game you wear a white shirt. First 5000 through the gate get a free white Memphis State T-shirt.

Penny believes this will be “a beautiful week” for the Tigers. Um. Penny. If your team beats ranked Alabama or ranked Tennessee, you’ll earn the right to look back and say it WAS a beautiful week. But after 4 losses in a row to inferior teams? You sound like Butch Jones calling your guys “champions of life.” Stop it.

Out in The Edge, Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe will be closed all week, for the best of reasons – they’ve received a massive catering order from Amazon! Congratulations to Chef Tam on that achievement. She’ll reopen Saturday the 18th for brunch with live music and mimosa towers.

Just announced: New Edition will bring The Culture Tour to FedExForum Sunday, March 13. Charlie Wilson and Jodeci will also perform. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday at 10 AM.

Downtowners who are fans of the New Wing Order food truck, it’ll be parked at Cordelia’s Market tomorrow evening from 5 to 8. Chipotle lime wings are this month’s special flavor.

The Grizzlies made a statement with a 35-point victory over the Philadephia 76ers last night at home. What that means for the standings:

  • The Grizzlies (17-11) retain sole possession of 4th place in the Western Conference
  • The Grizzlies are 3 games back of 3rd-place Utah Jazz (19-7)
  • The Grizzlies are 1 game ahead of 5th-place L.A. Clippers (16-12)
  • The Grizzlies are currently avoiding play-in scenarios by 2.5 games, leading 7th-place Dallas (14-13) by that amount

Bardog is giving away a Crosstown Brewing Co.-branded rolling beer cooler, a $180 value. All you have to do is purchase a Crosstown beer to enter. Drawing will be 10 PM on New Year’s Day and you must be present to win.

Know what I just realized? Christmas and New Year’s are on the worst possible day of the week this year, Saturday. Here’s how many people will spend the period from December 20 to January 7:

  • work work work work work
  • get nagged by relatives; get gifted socks and a sweater that doesn’t fit
  • work work work work work
  • pay a $50 cover to watch drunk douchebags pick fights and go “Woooooo!”
  • work work work work work

Three weeks without a normal weekend is torture.

Dont’cha hate when your phone goes BEEEEEEEEP BEEEEEEEEP BEEEEEEEEP to notify you of an Amber Alert in Sevierville, Tennessee, hours away? Well, for the first time in memory yesterday, an Amber Alert relevant to Downtowners was issued. A 17-year-old was abducted just northeast of Downtown at Thomas and Chelsea. A friend of hers got away and notified the authorities. Update: The girl has been found and is safe. The abductor has not been caught.

Surprise, surprise: Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl is in trouble with the NCAA again. He’s suspended for two games for failing to control the actions of assistant Chuck Person. Person is accused of taking bribes to attempt to steer top recruits to the Auburn program. Auburn basketball has been put on 4 years probation.

From ABC 24: The Mississippi River bluffs do NOT protect Downtown from tornadoes

StyleBlueprint has a list of the 12 most epic breakfast sandwiches in Memphis. Representing Downtown: The Rooster at Sunrise Memphis, Avocado Toasted Egg in the Hole at By the Brewery, Breakfast Sliders at Bardog Tavern, Cheddar Chive Biscuit with Pastrami and Egg at Backlot, Pimiento BLT at Edge Alley, Jalapeno Cheddar Bagel with Prosciutto, Egg, Cheese, and Spinach at Crazy Gander Coffee Company. No other Memphis neighborhood can claim to be home to half the sandwiches on the list.

Happy Monkey Day to my friend Roscoe!

Sigh… I have to get on a Zoom call with support staff from writing site Medium today. We’re going to attempt to obtain the IP address of someone who stalked me on that platform (and for whom I have previous screenshot evidence of him stalking me on Twitter and Insta). If we can trace that IP address back to a top-level Internet domain, I will know whether he used a work computer. This was not what I planned to spend my day doing, but it happens when you’re Internet famous.

I wasn’t planning to get out at all today, but I may go out this evening just because I’m a little curious to see what will develop. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

Dreamers’ Revival, the new TV show that is the brainchild of Ashley and Daryl of Walking Pants Curiosities, now has merchandise available for sale. Just go to the Dreamers’ Revival website and scroll down the home page a bit. They have T-shirts, hoodies, beanies, and hats you can wear proudly to show your support for the project. 100% of the profit from these items will be used to build out 13 Dreamers storefronts in Downtown Memphis.

According to Nextdoor, there were shots fired at Madison and Fourth around 2:30 this morning.

Here’s a link to James Aycock’s COVID Week-in-Review he posted Saturday. Shelby County’s case rate and positivity rate have both doubled since their November lows, but both statistics are both way below where they were a year ago today. James believes it’s essential that we get school-aged kids vacc’d or we’re going to see a surge following winter break.

Robusto by Havana Mix will have its holiday party featuring Alec Bradley Cigars Saturday night from 5 to 10.

Interesting read from Slate: Johnny Cash is a hero to Americans on the left and right, but his music took a side

The Grizzlies host the Philadelphia 76ers tonight at 7 at FedExForum.

From Action News 5: Why it’s called “Mud Island”

Today is Ice Cream Day. Margie’s 901 in Pembroke Square is the place to go for all the flavors and toppings.

A new study out of Israel shows that a booster of the Pfizer vaccine is effective in fighting off the Omicron variant but that merely being “fully vaccinated” (two doses more than six months ago without a booster) is not.

I’m getting my booster at 11:30 and after that I’ll be out. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update: Omicron is here, weather damage, and more

Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor announced in a press release Saturday that two cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 have been identified in Shelby County. Citing preliminary data that indicates a booster shot is effective in protecting against omicron, she recommended that all eligible individuals get a booster.

I just got on Walgreens’ website and booked my booster vaccination appointment at the 2 N. Main location tomorrow morning. There are plenty of other appointments, at all times of the day, available. Join me, won’t you?

Tornadoes early Saturday morning were radar-indicated only and not spotted on the ground in Downtown Memphis – but there is evidence that a tornado may have torn through the southern part of the Downtown core.

This is the traffic signal that sat right in the middle of Main Street at the intersection of Gayoso. As you can see, it was blown straight backward.

A block farther south, a window was blown out on the 9th floor of the Peabody Place office tower. People had been sitting on the patio of the Silly Goose cocktail lounge at the time (in a severe storm – clearly the descendants of Albert Einstein) when large shards of glass tore through the awning. The bartender showed me a piece and the glass looked nearly half an inch thick. Workers were outside with the sidewalk blocked off, trying to formulate a plan to knock out the rest of the window so it could be replaced.

The Grizzlies celebrated Z-bo Night with a 113-106 win over Houston. Memphis continues to hold a 1-game lead over the L.A. Clippers for 5th place in the Western Conference with a 16-11 record.

As the season progresses, the question will be, “How much of a lead do the Grizzlies hold over the 7th-place team in the West?”, because the top 6 teams in the conference will avoid play-in scenarios. Currently, the Grizz hold a 2½-game lead over 7th-place Denver.

AutoZone opened a new Store Support Center at 104 S. Front last week, combining two historic buildings across Front from its main Store Support Center. The new location will seat 300 and was furnished with COVID precautions in mind.

Flashing crosswalk lights are needed at the crosswalks across Island Drive on Mud Island. A friend of mine stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk yesterday and got rear-ended. Imagine if my friend’s car hadn’t been there – the pedestrian very possibly could have been run over. Pedestrians in crosswalks always have the right of way.

The Houston Rockets’ plane was forced to circle Memphis for an hour early Saturday morning due to tornado sirens going off on the ground and turbulence in the air. The plane finally landed around 1 AM.

Today is National Ding-A-Ling Day.

Memphis has been ranked as the #1 most dangerous city in the country. The rankings are based on violent crimes per 100,000 people, the 1-year change in the violent crime rate, the homicide rate per 100,000, and the poverty rate. Pine Bluff came in at #4 and the Little Rock metro was #10.

Lucky Fox Selfie Museum is now open in the basement of 409 S. Main.

Looking at the MemphisWeather.net forecast and guess what… temps will be normal today, then warm into the 60s Monday and Tuesday and the 70s Wednesday and Thursday… chance of thunderstorms Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Does it feel like we’ve seen this show before? Extended outlook for December 19-25 shows temperatures much warmer than normal, so we may be in for one of these years when the air conditioner’s running on Christmas.

That’s it for today. Going to stay home and write all day most likely. I’m planning on Tuesday being a sick day following my booster shot, and if it’s not, that’s a bonus. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

The Memphis Tigers suffered a 74-72 loss to Murray State, which came into the game as a double-digit underdog, last night. That’s four in a row, and this one would qualify as a “bad loss” in the eyes of the NCAA tournament committee. Bruce V has some advice for Coach Penny that I agree with.

How many more times can the Tigers lose and still have even a chance of making the tournament? Seven? Eight? The next two games are against 9 Alabama (Tuesday) and 13 Tennessee (Saturday), so those are probably two of those seven or eight, right there.

In a move we all saw coming, the NBA fined Dillon Brooks $25,000 for “aggressively coming at an official” and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following his ejection from Thursday night’s game.

Former Grizzly Zach Randolph is the grand marshal of today’s Memphis Holiday Parade on Beale Street from 3:00 to 4:30. After that, Z-bo’s number will be retired at the Grizzlies’ home game vs. Houston tonight. Tip-off for that game is 7 PM.

A tornado warning was issued for Memphis in the 12:00 hour overnight as radar indicated a possible tornado over West Memphis. 60 MPH wind gusts and penny-sized hail were also indicated.

From Local 24: How Memphis’ Medical District is being transformed

You can learn push-pull swing for free this evening at the Fall Back Fall Dance Series at Fourth Bluff Park from 6:00-7:15. Get down to old-school music with instruction from the folks at Cat’s Ballroom.

Memphis Modern Market is back with a pop-up shop at Loflin Yard today 11-5 for your holiday shopping needs.

The only college football game on today is Army-Navy at 2 PM on CBS. Max’s Sports Bar would be my recommended place to watch that game.

Grind City Brewing Co. is hosting an Ugly Sweater Party today with prizes for the best pet, kid, individual, and couple. There will also be pictures with Santa, a water pong tournament, and a food truck. Live music by Elevation Memphis 6-9. Here’s the full schedule of events.

Art news: The opening reception for “Shim” by Joel Parsons and Melissa Dunn is today noon-3 PM at 55 S. Main.

There’s a Holiday Market Sip & Shop at 66 Union today 2-8 PM.

I had the coolest dream last night!

A hotel hired me to be its concierge. “We want you to be your blog, but in person,” they said. “We want you to excite our guests about all there is to do in Memphis, and point them in the right direction and give them lots of insider tips.”

My “office” was a hotel room that had been designated for the concierge. “Your hours are 1 to 9 PM Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays,” the HR person for the hotel told me.

“Wait, this is a full-time job, but I’m only expected to work 24 hours a week?” I asked.

“Yes,” the HR person said. “Guests will come to you when they want to talk Memphis. When you’re not helping guests, feel free to bring your laptop and surf the Internet, write your blog, write on Medium, whatever you want to do.”

Part of my compensation included my own suite, my own living space, in the hotel. I had full guest privileges, so I had maid service every day. Every morning, a continental breakfast of muffins and pastries was delivered to my room.

On my first day at work, the HR person stopped by to see how I was doing and share some additional information. “In August 2022, we’ll be sending you to our company convention in Tampa. You and your girlfriend will have a suite in our resort there.”

“That sounds awesome,” I replied. “I don’t have a girlfriend, though.”

“No problem,” the HR person smiled. “We’ll set you up with a girl in Tampa. When it gets closer to time, I’ll show you some photos and descriptions and you can pick whoever you like. I recommend Janet, though. She’s a blast to hang out with and a lot of fun in bed.”

“Hold on,” I said. “Are you telling me that the company is going to pay for a hooker for me for the entire week?”

“We prefer to think of them as companions,” replied the HR person. “But yes.”

Behold, I have seen the future of work.

That’s it for now. I plan to hit the Blind Bear and Silly Goose and then possibly the holiday parade. If I go to the parade I’ll probably hang out at the King’s Palace Tap Room but not drink there because their beer prices are high. Back tomorrow with more news.